In this week’s edition of My Thoughts Exactly, Daniel “Pinto” Gunderson talks about Brock Jensen’s play of late and why it is a good thing that some people are not the coaches running the show.
Let me start off by saying that I think there are several things that the Bison football team could do better offensively. The offense is having a tough time moving the ball and they are not finishing drives. However, replacing Brock Jensen is not the answer to these problems.
People in general get into a mode of “What have you done for me lately?” Jensen hasn’t really done a whole lot for the Bison football team lately. In four of the last five games, Jensen has turned the ball over eight times.
Of those eight turnovers, seven interceptions and a fumble, four of them ended up being defensive touchdowns. You might as well throw out the University of South Dakota game because that could have been me out there and I would have gone 10 for 15 for 210 and a couple scores.
If you turn the ball over that many times in essentially four games, the record is probably going to be either .500 or a losing one at best. The Bison have gone 3-1 in those games.
I understand that NDSU has a defense that could wins game without the offense so much as moving the ball past midfield. I also understand that the quarterback backing up Jensen probably has a world of talent.
The thing that makes me scratch my head is do some people really believe a freshman would be better served as NDSU’s quarterback than a proven guy like Jensen? You’re telling me that, because Jensen’s play has been spotty in four games this year, three of which NDSU won, that some people would rather see Carson Wentz lead this team?
It is almost as if people have forgotten Jensen’s track record. Here is a reminder. He won the first ever Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoff game in school history. He has compiled an unbeaten record on the road in the last two years, including wins at Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools Minnesota and Colorado State.
He’s 6-1 in the playoffs including a national championship! Why in the world would NDSU be better off with a freshman?!?! If you want to blame anybody for the poor play of Jensen, you might need to start looking at the running game.
Before Jensen started turning the ball over, the Bison were actually running the ball with some efficiency. In the first five games, NDSU averaged five yards per carry. In the last five, they have averaged 3.5.
The better you run the less stress you put on the passing games to make plays on third down. No wonder their third down conversion rate went from 59 percent in the first five games to 49 percent in the last five.
You also have to give credit to the opponents NDSU is playing. Four of the last five have defenses ranked in the top 50 nationally for scoring and total defense. It is a wonder that NDSU actually got over 20 points in the last three games.
This week is another daunting task for the offense. The opponent, Illinois State, is nationally ranked 13th in total defense and 28th in scoring defense. They are 23rd in rushing defense allowing only 123 yards per game.
If NDSU can stop the league’s second best offensive, the Redbirds are averaging 30 points a game, and have a successful running game, NDSU will win. That would just add another achievement to a long list for Brock Jensen, a quarterback with a 27-5 record as a starter.
Daniel “Pinto” Gunderson is the producer of the Mike McFeely Show, which can be heard 2-5 p.m. every weekday on 790 KFGO. You can follow him on Twitter @pintoKFGO or friend him on Facebook.